Work experience gives you new skills and helps you to make valuable contacts. It lets you find out what a job or occupation is really like before you commit to working in it. It has always been crucial in helping you get ahead in competitive industries such as broadcasting, advertising, personnel management or journalism.
In the current climate work experience is crucial in giving you the advantage over other applicants, whatever the role.
How can I gain work experience if I don’t have a job?
Weekend or evening job
Delivering newspapers, helping out your mum in her cafe on a Saturday afternoon, working a few hours at the local corner shop on a Sunday or working at a supermarket during the summer holidays. These all count as work experience and it’s important to make sure you share this information with a potential employer.
Don’t forget if you’re doing a weekend or evening job and are still under sixteen you must inform the local council and obtain a work permit to do so. Without it you are working illegally and are not insured. Click here and here for more information.
Volunteering is simple. It’s about giving your time to do something useful, without getting paid (apart from expenses). In return you get the satisfaction of time and effort well spent. In addition, volunteering can be a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and gain useful experience. It should also be fun! Think about activities you enjoy and find a charity that is looking for volunteers to help with that!
There are lots of opportunities for young people with the National Citizen Service. You can find out more at your school or click here for more information.
The best place to find out about volunteer opportunities is at your local volunteer centre.
You can also find more information about volunteering from Volunteering England.
Work experience at school
You might have done work experience during Year 10 at school. It is important to share the details of this with your potential employer via your CV.
Creating your own work experience
If you’re over 16 you can organise your work experience yourself. You’ll need to decide on what career areas / jobs you are interested in. Do you just want to gain ideas about what to do eventually or is there a company you would like to work for in the long term? Do you have family members or friends of the family that can offer you the chance to work with them – maybe during the holidays or after school / college?
Want to hear some more advice?
Watch this video we made with Darren Thompson, Student Experience Champion, Positive About Futures at Chichester College
Stamp images: Carved Man by Lewis, Highdown by Joe, Worthing landscape Kevin, Arundel by Megan, Barn owl ©Darin SmithSussex Wildlife Trust.